The big idea: Plum

This fintech startup is betting that AI can help get young people saving. Could they be onto something?

The big idea: Plum

Faced with graduate debt, a competitive job market and sky-high house prices, it’s no surprise that many millennials are prioritising short-term gratification over saving for their long-term future. Even those who want to save often end up just scraping by and, according to analysis by Facebook, millennials are 1.6 times more likely than older generations to have no investments at all.

Given that generation YOLO also happen to be digital natives – people who grew up with the internet and are more open to adopting new technology – it’s no surprise that many fintech startups have rushed in to offer solutions. One of the most promising is Plum: a personal savings assistant in the form of an AI-enabled chatbot on Facebook.

The bot analyses people’s current accounts and relies on machine learning to get to know their spending habits. For instance, if you’ve got a daily soy latte habit, it will soon find out. It will then calculate a small and safe amount of money people can save, which is then transferred to their Plum savings account. People can chat with it via Facebook Messenger at any time if they want to withdraw money or put aside a different amount, so they’re always in the driving seat.

Founded by Alex Michael and Victor Trokoudes, Plum says its goal is to plug the UK’s £350bn savings black hole by helping young people establish a manageable, realistic savings habit. Explaining the concept, Trokoudes said: “Plum’s intelligence sidesteps our pre-programmed human tendencies, ensuring our future selves are looked out for.”

Given that Plum received a significant leg-up in October when it raised $500k in a Seed round led by 500 Startups’ microfund, we’re betting that this is one AI startup we’ll be hearing a lot more of this year.

Maria Barr
Maria Barr

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